I recently started teaching again in a masters level social work program (DUGSSW). It is such a fulfilling experience to be in a room with 20 fresh-hearted MSWs-to-be … so idealistic and full of compassion and curiosity and … engagement with our group. No one was secretly playing with the cell phone (hey, we all do that at meetings, right?). No one was yawning and slumping lower and lower in the desk chair (well, the iron rods I had installed in the back that they strap onto may have helped prevent the slumping). Impressively, all were listening to each other with rapt attention and adding their own pieces to the discussions.

This was the first week of the first year of graduate studies and the students were, no kidding, inspiring to me. Full of a professional innocence and wonder – they are choosing financial duress, moving across the country (many of them), and enduring long nights/early days filled with classes, studying, field placement, and, for many, part-time jobs to help foot the bills. They are courageous in this difficult time in our upsetting world to be reaching deeply into a cauldron of angst as our society tremors and quakes. These are the new helpers-to-be and I am honored to be a part of their instruction, if only slightly. I am thrilled that so many still want to work in helping fields of practice.

Our world is lucky to have these young and not-so-young individuals rise to the call of giving back to their communities. Hats off to all new students entering the mental health fields!! May you be brave of heart and full of passion (and don’t forget that self-care part so you can keep going for the long haul).

Thank you sincerely for inspiring me with your engagement in the educational process of learning how to help improve others’ lives.


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Deborah M. Henson